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NBA may delay lockout vote, meet with players

Deseret News and wire reports

Published: Friday, June 24 2011 9:41 p.m. MDT

The NBA is expected to hold off on a lockout vote at Tuesday's Board of Governors meeting in Dallas and instead focus on another meeting with the players' union the following day in Manhattan. The current collective bargaining agreement will expire on Thursday.

"We have meetings scheduled now for after that board meeting," NBA deputy commissioner Adam Silver said Friday, "so I think it would be premature to talk about where we're going to find ourselves next week."

There were indications after the previous session on Tuesday that the league might put the move to lock out the players to a vote in their upcoming owners' meeting. But while there wasn't any progress made in negotiating the salary-cap system, there was a feeling of progress in the understanding of the issues that both sides presented.

"I think that the nature of the discussion was such that they may find it difficult to pull the trigger," union executive director Billy Hunter said. "Even though we didn't make any progress, I think they felt the energy and attitude within the room was such that it might necessitate further discussion."

Said commissioner David Stern, "The one thing we don't want is a lockout. We've told the players that."

The atmosphere might have been aided by the presence of Hunter's constituents, as a large group of players attended to emphasize their show of solidarity. They did it not only with their presence, but with T-shirts that read "STAND" across the front.

But really their most impressive action was to listen. Over 30 players, including Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce, sat in on the talks, which did not include a counterproposal from the union, but instead involved an open discussion about the league's goals with the new agreement and system. There were as many as 10 players who interjected or asked questions during the meeting, which lasted about five hours.

"It helped, for us, make a lot of progress in understanding where our owners stand," union president Derek Fisher said.

PIPPEN SAYS JORDAN IS THE BEST: Scottie Pippen made it clear he thinks Michael Jordan is the best player ever — not LeBron James.

Speaking to reporters at a youth camp in suburban Lisle on Friday, Pippen says he was simply giving "LeBron some props as a player" when he suggested to ESPN radio last month that James could be better than Jordan.

Pippen says "all know that (Jordan's) the greatest player that ever played the game" and that his comments were taken "a little bit out of context."

Trade machine

The Minnesota Timberwolves were awfully busy on draft night. So busy, in fact, that it took the NBA until Friday afternoon to approve all the wheeling and dealing that was done by president of basketball operations David Kahn.

The deals that were officially announced:

The Wolves traded point guard Jonny Flynn, a future second-round pick and the 20th pick — Donatas Motiejunas — to Houston for center Brad Miller, the draft rights to No. 23 pick Nikola Mirotic and No. 38 Chandler Parsons and a future first-round pick.

Traded Mirotic to the Chicago Bulls for the draft rights to No. 28 Norris Cole and No. 43 Malcolm Lee and cash.

Traded Cole to the Miami Heat for No. 31 Bojan Bogdanovic, a future second-round pick and cash.

Traded Bogdanovic to New Jersey for a future second-round pick and cash.

Traded Parsons back to Houston for cash.

Traded with Portland for the 57th pick, Tanguy Ngombo of Qatar, but said the deal was still pending and contingent upon a trade the Trail Blazers made earlier in the draft.

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